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Author Topic: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread  (Read 23234 times)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« on: February 13, 2013, 06:37:38 PM »
Hello all, I hereby pronounce this thread to be the official Plateau Key thread!  Any and all information regarding plateaus are welcome.

I\'d like to share my first plateau Boehm clarinet, a Vito. (attached are pictures).

I think it hails from the 1980s, due to the case style; the Vito logo I believe also comes from this time period.

The clarinet has a problem that I also see on my plateau keyed alto clarinet: the middle A and B come out about only a half step apart.  The A comes out sharp, while the B comes out quite flat.  I suspect this to be an issue affecting plateau keyed clarinets of any kind.  It seems that the fact that the holes are plateau and not open accounts for this annoying tone issue.

Nevertheless, this clarinet will find several friends among my other plateau\'d clarinets: 2 mazzeos, 1 Bundy semi-plateau (http://www.clarinetpages.net/vintage-plastic-composite-clarinets/bundy/bundy-mazzeo), and 1 Brevetto Bottali simple system with plateau keys.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Hitman99

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 12:31:07 PM »
Hello,

It looks a nice piece of kit!
I;m trying to Identify this and could do with some Expertise please?

Console
Plateau
Selmer?
Bit brown
CALTEAU mouthpiece.
Albert system?
Plays nice.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 03:45:44 PM »
wow you have a nice find!  it looks to be made of hard rubber, due to the discoloration of the body.

the albert system dates it to the 1920s or before.

thats really all i can tell...
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 03:46:49 PM »
http://www.ebay.com/itm/251228904149?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

this links to the weirdest clarinet possible.
plateau keyed FULL boehm!!  and its in teh key of Ab, apparently.  i didnt even know keyof Ab existed!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline Skyfacer

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 07:15:26 PM »
Could be an error. I\'ve heard of the Bb Clarinet being called a B , so perhaps this is the same type of error in reverse , the A being called an Ab.
However there is , or was an Ab Piccolo Clarinet , the smallest of the family that they even manage to fit the standard \'Boehm\' mechanism onto.
Another rare tonality that is rarely seen now is the Sopranino in D , half a tone lower than the Eb Sopranino.
The Clarinet is not a Horn.
Barry Vincent

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 11:37:08 PM »
here is the list of plateau keyed clarinet makers so far:

Boehm:
Pedler
Vito
D. Noblet (Leblanc - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN4OX-yefbY&feature=endscreen&NR=1)
Normandy

Albert:
Console
Conn

Simple:
Lyon and Healy (information courtesy of the National Music Museum)
Brevetto Bottali
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 11:42:13 PM by DaveLeBlanc »
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2013, 04:07:04 PM »
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline gkern

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2013, 02:44:54 PM »
Hey Dave - open the 2nd link in the first post; REALLY interesting clarinet! A plateau Albert!

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=391482&t=391482
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 02:46:58 PM by gkern »
Playing a clarinet badly is better than not playing a clarinet at all.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 04:54:03 PM »
wow that\'s pretty awesome! especially with those awesome saxophone pearls!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 07:07:55 PM »
Here is my version of putting saxophone pearls on a plateau clarinet (in this case, a Vito)
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline Airflyte

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 07:26:16 PM »
Quote from: \'DaveLeBlanc\' pid=\'1228\' dateline=\'1375150075\'

Here is my version of putting saxophone pearls on a plateau clarinet (in this case, a Vito)


I like it! Would this work on a Dazzler?
"The Clarinet - in a class of its own"

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https://sites.google.com/clarinetpages.net/clarinetpages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2013, 01:12:06 PM »
i was trying to figure out how to put pearls on an open hole clarinet and here\'s what i came up with.
1. get a pearl that is bigger than the ring
2. attach a pad to the bottom of the pearl
3. attach pearl to ring

this way, i THINK, when depressing the pearl, the pad on the bottom will seal the hole, as just a pearl wouldn\'t seal the hole well enough, it seems.

i\'ll keep you posted on my progress!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2013, 06:53:24 PM »
i tried that pearl on open hole clarinet idea on my Eb.  didn\'t work.  like i thought, the pearl doesnt create a good enough seal and so air leaks out and the instrument cannot be played.  

all you need to do is find a way to make a good seal and you\'re all set!

here\'s a picture of what i tried to do
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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RE: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 06:47:48 PM »
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Plateau Keyed Clarinet Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2016, 12:18:08 AM »
Bettoney Boston 3* Plateau   :)

I was going to give this one it's own thread but since there is an "official" plateau thread, this is where it belongs. And it is also a good way to compare the approach of different makers to the plateau concept to have them all in one thread.

I am surprised that this is the first Bettoney plateau clarinet to make it to this thread. Historically, I think their plateau beginner model came to market before other major USA makers offered them, but I could be wrong. In any case their execution of a plateau design is quite elegant and comparatively uncluttered. Bettoney makes use of key work concepts typically found on plateau Boehm flutes to keep extra rods and other clutter to a minimum. The lower joint mechanism is particularly interesting but somewhat more tedious to get into proper adjustment. Properly adjusted, it preserves all the functions of the three rings of the lower joint so that there is no change necessary in fingering strategies between this plateau model and a model with open rings. To do this, the plateau key cups cannot actuate each other, but all must actuate the B key cup as well as the bridge link. Bettoney worked this out in a particularly clever way but it took the space generally allocated to the side or cross B key, which became the other-side cross B key. This was done without adding another rod, lever, key post, or other clutter. Bettoney lets several existing mechanical paths perform double duty to reduce the necessary hardware.

The 3* also features (like all Bettoney clarinets I've seen) the patented Bettoney C# to Eb key linkage that allows an alternate forked fingering for Eb / Ab similar to the function of a 7-ring Boehm, just without the additional vent key and the typical 7-ring clutter. If there was an elegant way to do something, Bettoney typically found it if they didn't always patent it. The C# key tab that links it to the Eb ring key is patented, so if you are looking for that and don't want to have it custom made (which has to be one of the easiest customizations), just take your pick of the Bettoney offerings from about 50 years of clarinet production. It seems that all of them have this convenient innovation.

I knew that these Bettoney "covered tone hole" clarinets were made because of an old ad that appeared on ebay. I saved the tiny .jpg of the ad realizing that these clarinets, which really should have been the most popular beginner clarinet of the 20th century, were actually comparatively rare. When one sees a print ad for something that looks like a really useful innovation, but the item from the ad is very rare, one wonders what went wrong? The logical thought is that it must not have sounded good. Or it must have been poorly manufactured? Or maybe the chicks just didn't dig it?   ???  Who knows?

It never ceases to amaze me how many really good ideas seem to get put on the shelf while the mediocre ideas are mass produced. Unless it came with a significant upcharge, I don't know why it didn't catch on. The price in the ad doesn't seem out of line with student instruments of that era. Obviously what it needed was a Benny Goodman endorsement. If that had happened these would be low hanging fruit on ebay;- and more people might know how to play a clarinet. To this day, the plateau-keyed flute is the standard beginner flute. Why not the plateau-keyed clarinet? The 3* demonstrates the concept very successfully executed with no short comings in performance. To any one that is just beginning on clarinet, this is the best one to get to get started with. I would rate it top choice for a novice that wants the easiest kind to start on.

If one is patient enough the rare treasure will appear amidst the common clutter;- everything eventually comes up for auction. If one is really lucky, it will be obscured by the common clutter to the extent that no one else will notice it.  8)

So when this 3 Star plateau finally appeared and didn't get much interest, I put in an offer and the seller accepted it right away. Bettoney fans and "serious" collectors were probably busy out-bidding each other on a simultaneous auction for a Silva-Bet 7 ring type, also with plateau keys. Yes, those also exist! So I had the benefit of a major diversion going on at the critical moment this appeared. It was a nice consolation to get a clear shot at the 3* while the bids on the Silva-Bet headed skyward into oblivion.

After hearing how it plays, I think it was a very lucky find. It's a unique instrument, a pristine example of it, and it delivers in both sound and playability and is made of extremely durable materials. It came with a really nice case and all the original parts and accessories (except the mouthpiece might be a more recent substitute and appears to be hard molded plastic). I'm using a hard rubber Penzel Mueller Artist mouthpiece to test the 3*. This clarinet really is in near mint condition. The rubber is not faded or oxidized and the plating is 100%. It's the closest thing to a "new" clarinet that I have owned.

Every Bettoney instrument that I have explored so far has been a well executed design and the manufacturing quality is excellent and very consistent. This was a company that paid attention to important details particularly on their student models.

Bettoney conceived it as a beginner instrument, not as a novel design variant. As such, there is nothing about the way it works that would make switching to an open ring model problematic. It does leave one tone hole, LH4, to be covered by a finger tip, pointing to the eventual technique needed on a professional clarinet, but alleviating the complication for the novice musician of mastering both an embouchure as well as manually sealing several tone holes with rings around them. I think any beginning student would find this instrument far less intimidating than a typical beginner clarinet. For those that didn't have the benefit of playing a recorder before attempting a clarinet, this plateau keyed clarinet is a much friendlier beginning point than one with open rings. I am surprised that it was not produced and adopted in very large numbers. It should have been as popular as offset-G plateau-keyed beginner flutes.

I took some side by side photos of it with a Bettoney Cadet next to it so that the key similarities and differences would be obvious. Side by side with a Cadet model one can see that the G# and A key touches are extended so that it is easier for a small hand to reach them. On the lower joint, the RH5 key touches have been moved as close as possible to the other keys, again making the reach as easy as possible for smaller hands (The Cadet model is similar in this way).

The material of the Boston 3 Star is "ebonite" body with Bakelite barrel and bell. As I have found with other Bakelite clarinet parts, typical wear marks and scratches that appear on wood and hard rubber are absent from these Bakelite parts. The Bakelite parts appear slightly darker and glossier than the hard rubber joints and this gives the 3 Star a muted two-tone appearance that is quite attractive. The tone has more of the edge that I associate with wooden clarinets and that might be the result of the Bakelite barrel in combination with the hard rubber body. The result is very close to the reedy tonal character of a wood clarinet. The key work is nickel plated and there is almost no visible wear to be seen on this whole instrument. I don't know what the base metal is because I can't see it anywhere, but my guess is that it is similar to the base metal on the Cadet keys and those appear to be nickel plated nickel-silver.

The pads have been replaced with some kind of synthetic material that is far too spongy for my taste so even though these seal OK, they also tend to stick and the feel is not something I could get used to very easily. These work well enough to evaluate the sound and general playing character, but soon they must go. I love this clarinet.  :D I hate these pads.  :-\

The 3* was pretty close to "plays right out of the box" but It took some typical cork shimming to get the mechanisms properly synchronized. After doing the minimum tweaks, this clarinet plays very well, has excellent intonation, projection and very even response.

I don't find that there is any problem in the A > Ab > B > Bb intonation of this clarinet. The notes there aren't spot on tuning wise, running somewhat sharp, but all sharp to about the same degree. I'd say the Boston 3 Star scores very well in the intonation department in all registers and was pleasantly surprising in responsiveness and tone in general. This is supposed to be a beginner clarinet, but it sounds pretty solid and I could see using it in performance situations where I need weather resistant materials. The combination of the Bakelite barrel with the hard rubber body is a good one if that is what is creating the resulting tone.  I think it can come very close to producing the dynamics and tonal variation that I am used to getting out of my more weather sensitive wooden clarinets. Like many of my clarinet purchases, curiosity was a major factor with the 3*. It's the first plateau keyed clarinet I have explored and I was primarily interested in evaluating it for student use, but I think it is good enough to be a keeper. I will definitely be looking out for more of these with students in mind. These could greatly reduce the hurdles facing novice clarinetists.
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum